Tell me about some marketing / branding mistakes that you have come across?

I worked on an essential oil brand in which the marketing department requested to have two different logo lockups: on the label vs on the box the product came in. To me that didn’t make sense. I tried to talk them out of it. After 3 years of printing they admittedly changed the design and cleaned it up. It allowed the scent variations (via color) to be distinguished easier.

Any others that you can think of?

Actually, the same marketing department had us work on a specialty package for the same essential oils. We designed the box. The oils sat in this plastic tray inside the box. However, the bottle depth and dimensions were different and thus they did not rest against the window. The bottles ended up falling out of the mold of the tray and were in disarray within the box. It looked terrible on the shelf and you could easily have had some breakage/ leakage. The Marketing team put it together in pieces, but never looked at the full finished product together until it was too late.

Have you ever seen a product with a bad name?

Ha, yes actually! I once worked on a coconut water. The company came up with a cute little name which was a combination of two words. They didn’t think to do any checking on it. Well, coconut waters are popular in Brazil and turns out the name they came up with was coincidentally (in Portuguese) slang for “big piece of poop.”  That doesn’t sound like a good-tasting drink to me.

What about domain names? Have you seen any bad domain names?

Yes, and I won’t say which one(s). If your domain name needs to be spelled out because it’s too complex or it does not make sense, then you shouldn’t be using it. Try to get a simple, easily understood domain name. If the name is not available, try adding call-to-actions (that make sense and are short) to the name.

What recommendations do you have for putting together a product line in terms of package design?

There are lots of things you can do, but one simple thing that I often see cause issues involves product copy. When coming up with product copy across the line, make sure names, words, phrases, ingredients, sell copy, etc… are similar in length that way the design can look and fit consistent (if it can be avoided). Sometimes it can’t be avoided, but many of times, the product line will look better on the shelf and in ads, if they have consistent design treatments that lineup and match.